The 2005 Summer Catskills Jeep® Jamboree
The Welcome Mat was out on this, the last day of summer 2005. Registration started during the summer and by the
time it was over, we were officially in Fall. This was my first time to the Jeep Jamboree Catskills run but it
will definitely NOT be my last! This is my third Jamboree so I've got somewhat of a frame of reference now.
It's obvious that this tourist-town in the Catskills, NY, knows how to welcome in visitors. I can't say enough
good things about this event. Great trails, great people, great food, GREAT FUN!
First, a BRIEF background: Say "The Catskills" to anyone from the Metro NY area, and you'll get a different reaction depending on the age of the person being questioned. Ask someone from "The Greatest Generation" (ie, WWII era) and they'll smile and recall sweet family memories spent summering there. A time of innocence. Ask a "Baby Boomer" and they'll likely have memories right out of the movie Dirty Dancing (a little less innocent). Ask their kids (me) and most will just know they heard their parents talk about going to the Catskills in the summer. I remember hearing things like: "We always ate at the Red Apple Rest Stop," or "there was no Tappan Zee Bridge when we used to come up here." Yes, we all know, you walked there from Brooklyn and it was up hill both ways!
But now, the Catskills, and the quaint little town of Monticello, is home to a new breed of summer folk. Many camps are dedicated to Chasidic Jewish communities. There's also the big fight about legalized gambling (complete with bribery, arson, etc.). And every September, a bunch of Jeeps start rolling in to enjoy the hospitality that private landowners extend to them. To those landowners, we all say: THANK YOU!
So the location (2 hours outside of Manhattan) is great. The terrain (a wonderful variety) is great. The food (Mr. Willy's) is great. Even the weather was great. So how'd the weekend pan out? I'm glad you asked...
Friday - Whispering Woods (Rated 4-5)
For me and my modified KJ, this trail was heaven. It was diverse, with its heavy woods, decent sized rocks and hills, and just enough mud to get dirty despite the dry conditions. No one got hurt, broke or severely stuck. We had a very enjoyable day that had just enough challenge to it for the first day out to make it a trail I would definitely do again. I've noticed that it's hard to find a trail that is challenging enough to keep it interesting, but not so difficult that you are concentrating hard for 8 hours straight. Or waiting for 2 hours while 20 Jeeps try to cross a four-foot stream (that's tomorrow's trail!). No, this trail was hard and not for beginners by any means. But it was just hard enough to allow you to enjoy what you're doing while you're doing it. Next year, I just might do this again on Friday.
Saturday - Hummel Hollow (Rated 5-6)
This trail calls for the "more experienced" drivers and "at least one locker and 32" tires advised," according to the descriptions. I'm running 31's in a lifted KJ with only factory Trac-Lok. Suffice it to say I was strapped a few times. Actually, there was not ONE Jeep that didn't get strapped, winched or just plain had to turn back and find another way on this trail - including the guides! THIS IS A TOUGH TRAIL! Yet, even during the hard stuff, it was somehow calm and very enjoyable.
Well, not for everyone. We did have one mishap at the first obstacle that ended a Cherokee's day when the driver went in to a stream crossing and hill climb way too fast. She then hit a large boulder head on with her front axle so hard that it caused her airbag to deploy! In case you're wondering, if an airbag deploys in the woods, IT DOES MAKE A SOUND and it's LOUD! But I must say, that Jeep held up pretty well. They drove it off the trail the mile back to meet a tow truck. The driver was shook up but ok. The rest of us took notes on how NOT to approach a steep, rocky climb out of a river bank.
The rest of the day was spent meandering through some tight trees, big rocks, and crossing through mud appropriately dubbed "Love Canal" because of it's toxic stench. I personally was in it up to my headlights and spent all day Sunday hosing off the undercarriage (it still smells).
As usual, words can't do justice to the good time my son, friends and I all had. So, please click on the links to our pictures and video links from the weekend's festivities. If you're still unsure about what the heck this insurance salesman from NY is doing in the muddy mountains, COME ON OUT and see for yourself.
To the folks at the Catskills Jeep Jamboree, Thank you! I'LL SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
If you have pictures or video to share from this event, email info@JeepTales.com and we will send you a link to upload your images.
Podcast (audio files)